Phone Booth Gallery is proud to present, “Info-Rama,” an exhibition of intricate screen-printed infographics crafted by artists Tom Whalen and Kevin Tong. The exhibition opens with an all-ages reception on Saturday, August 23rd, from 7-10pm, at Phone Booth Gallery’s exhibition space at 2533 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803. “Info-Rama” remains on view through September 17th at the gallery and online at www.phoneboothgallery.com.
Infographics have a history that stretches back centuries. French engineer Charles Minard is credited with starting the trend in the early 1800s, making drawings detailing Napoleon’s invasions and pie charts tracking cattle-consumption. With “Info•Rama,” intentionally scheduled to coincide with the start of the school year, Kevin and Tom endeavored to design images that simultaneously functioned as art and resources and could potentially find homes on classroom walls. The screen-printing process used to make each one gives these objects a vividness and tactility that distinguishes them from most educational posters.
For the show, Tong, an illustrator whose work often ventures into the realm of fantasy, has designed a multi-part, brightly colored guide to human anatomy. He also created a fiery, futuristic-looking infographic explaining the life and legacy of forward-thinking engineer Nikola Tesla, after whom Tesla Motors is named. His brief illustrated history of the USS Los Angeles, the rigid Zeppelin airship built by the U.S. Navy in 1924, is noir-like, all black, white and gray.
Whalen, an artist who frequently re-interprets vintage design motifs in his work, has imbued his series of infographics with an old-fashioned whimsy. His guide to the first transcontinental railroad uses fonts reminiscent of Wild West signage, and the mountains looming in the background behind the train cars are simple and stylized. His brief explanation of the life and habits of the stegosaurus is similarly stylized, with the dinosaur pictured at center and colored purple and orange. Whalen plays with size and shape in each of his infographics, using a banner-like orientation for his guides to the Octopus and the Samurai but using horizontal orientations and standard rectangles as well.
Any educator who purchases a print from the show will receive a discount, but the information Tong and Whalen artfully present should appeal to anyone curious about how the world works, whether they have students to teach or not.